Chasing the Rabbit: A Dad's Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum

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The true story of Derek Volk's experiences raising his son, Dylan, who has Asperger's Syndrome. When Derek's oldest child - his only son - was two years old when his wife suggested, \"Something is not quite right with Dylan.\" They struggled for the next several years as they were bounced from one \"expert\" to another, each offering a unique perspective on Dylan's challenging behaviors. Finally, at eight years old, Dylan was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and the Volk family was able to start making sense of Dylan's (Website hidden) Chasing the Rabbit, Derek Volk shares his experiences raising a son on the Autism spectrum. Both Dylan and Derek write about the challenges, triumphs and coping strategies from the early days to the adolescent years to life in the \"real world\" as a young adult. It is a story of how a dad learned to love the son he never expected he would have and how his son learned to accept himself as well. Throughout the book Dylan shares his perspectives on what Derek was experiencing. This book showcases the unique relationship between a father and his son, voices rarely heard in the autism community.

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Vocal Characteristics



Voice Age

Middle Aged (35-54)


North American (General) North American (US General American - GenAM)


Note: Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors.
When sophomore year started, we were cautiously optimistic that things would go OK. We were cautiously optimistic because we never knew what would be around the next corner. But freshman year had gone by without, to many major glitches. Academically, Dylan was doing well. He seemed to have a good connection with the teacher in the special education room, Mr Tansen. And socially he was surviving, which is not really success in any way. But he was navigating the challenging high school food chain the best he could. The problem was, of course, that he was barely on the food chain. It's one thing to be on the top of the high school food chain, where your stars something in some way or when you're considered valuable in the eyes of the other high school students. But there are very few kids who fall into that category. There are very few captains of the football team stars of the soccer team or head cheerleader, which in Scarborough it's not really considered the top of the food chain and Scarborough to be popular. You have to play sports, so a girl who's the star of the soccer team is of higher value than the captain of the cheerleading squad. And then there are the majority of the kids in school who fall in the middle ranks somewhere. If there's a school with 1000 students, there would be a significant bell curve with the most popular and one side, the least popular on the other side and the bulk of the students in the middle. Dylan's problem was that he didn't fall anywhere on the bell curve. If anything, he was in the low popularity side, but to him he felt that he was below the least popular kids. But he was completely unnoticed altogether. And sometimes that's the worst place to be even unpopular kids are noticed or have other friends who are in the same boat as they are. It only takes one or two friends to feel that you have someplace where your cared for. Dylan really didn't have anybody at the school that cared whether he showed up the next day or not, and that's an extremely difficult place to be as a parent, it's brutal. Watch your child experience it. We knew all along that if you could just find one friend, one person that liked him for whom? Iwas It would make such a difference. He didn't find that person in his sophomore year. As a result, he slipped further into despair. Although it was never clinically diagnosed, he was probably suffering from clinical depression. I remember many times when he was younger, therapists would say, I think Dylan's depressed Amy and I would say, Well, overall, he has a pretty good attitude about things given the fact that he has no friends, no social life and no world hobbies that give him a lot of joy. So why wouldn't he be a little depressed? Wouldn't you be? In fact, most people, given the circumstances that Dylan face throughout his life, would be much more depressed than Dylan ever waas. I've mentioned this before, but his optimism was sometimes beyond what was reasonable. He felt like things would always turn out better eventually. But then we reached October of his sophomore year, where nothing seemed to be going right and Dylan lost or seem to have lost the most important thing that we all need to keep going during tough times. And that's hope. He seemed to have no hope that things were going to get better. I remember going in and saying good night to him one night. It was more than one night that this happened, but I remember him looking at me and saying, When you come in the morning, don't be surprised to see me hanging from the ceiling fan I said, Dylan, why would you say something like that? He quickly responded. Why wouldn't I? Every day I wake up seems to be worse than the day before. Nothing is getting better. It's just getting worse and worse. Terrified. He would actually hurt himself. Amy and I took all the wires and belts out of his room before he went to sleep that night. We took them out of his computer. The outlets, even the bathroom belt he had hanging on his bathroom door was hitting away from him. He had talked about suicide in the past, but on this night it seemed to be more than just an idle threat. Were reached for attention. He was getting to the point where he wasn't a kid anymore, and we couldn't take these kinds of threats slightly in any way. Amy and I didn't know what to do. We were at her wits end as to what our next step should be. Sometimes God puts people in a certain place at a certain time to do or say just the right thing that changes your life. I met someone who changed the course for our lives only a couple days after that terrifying night.